This is a nice sharp example of an early Model 1892 sporting rifle in 38-40 Caliber with 24" round barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Early original sights include the semi-buckhorn rear sight and standard front with German silver blade. Antique Pre-1898 serial number in the 16,000 range and was made in 1892. Only about 16% of Model 1892 production are legal antiques under Federal law and only 2% are first year production. This rifle has all of the early markings and knurlings Winchester collectors look for in an early Model 92. This includes the early checkered hammer knurling with the decorative dipped border...mainly found on the earliest 92's....1892-93 production before the hammer with the square checkered borders were introduced around 1893-94. Early style 2 line barrel address located on the top of the barrel reads "--<MANUFACTURED BY THE>-- / --<WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN CONN. U.S.A.>--. Caliber marking on the top of the barrel just in front of the receiver reads "38 W.C.F." which stands for 38 Caliber Winchester Center Fire..aka 38-40. The upper tang has the earliest style markings that read "MODEL 1892"/ "-WINCHESTER-" / "PAT. OCT. 14. 1884".
That 1884 Patent date is John Browning's original design concept which was employed in the Model 1886 Winchester and scaled down 6 years later in 1892 when Winchester asked Browning for a replacement to their famed Model 1873. Browning made a bet with Winchester that for $20,000 he could have a working prototype in 30 days or he would GIVE it to them. Actually, Browning had the prototype in use in just a couple of weeks and it was delivered to Winchester a few days later. See "Winchester, An American Legend" P 92-93. Its interesting to note that here we are 114 years later and arguably, nobody has topped the Model 1892 design....its sleek, strong, and light...3 qualities which the Model 1873 didn't possess. Don't get me wrong, we love the Model 1873, its just that Browning thoroughly optimized the design so thoroughly that there was simply no room for improvement. The Model 1892 is sitll being produced today in South America and recently in limited numbers at Winchester plants overseas....which incidentally as I understand it...are now owned by Browning Bros.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Excellent with 80% original blued finish on the frame showing wear mostly around the belly of the frame and upper edges. The bolt still has 98% bright vivid original blue with a considerable amount of original fire blue on the bolt extractor. Loading port still shows 70% original fire blue while the hammer and lever both show considerable original case colors that have darkened somewhat with age. The barrel and magazine tube have 95% original blue and the sights retaining most of their original blued finish as well. Original walnut wood looks just fantastic.. Fine++ to Excellent overal showing just light handling marks with no chips, cracks, or repairs. The tone of the wood is a very pleasant light reddish orange with just the right amount of patina....this wood hasn't been darkened by age and oil....its just how you like to find them..."aged gracefully." The stock and forend still show a considerable amount of original varnish with lots of open grain that's beginning to peak through after 11 decades. Wood to metal fit is nice and tight...never sanded or cleaned with the edges of the wood standing just slightly proud of the metal...just like it did when it left the factory back in 1892. Bore is quite respectable and in very near fine condition with good strong rifling...still somewhat shiny...with just a few light pits...no rings, no bulges. Excellent action that is tight like new. Just a nice strong example of an early 1st year production Model 92.